One in six young drivers admits to drink driving Brake reveals shocking new drink and drug figures

25 November 2009

Young drivers most likely to drive drunk or on drugs

Young drivers are more likely to drive while drunk or under the influence of drugs

Road Safety charity Brake has released a new report detailing drink and drug driving among young people - and the results are alarming.

For the latest car deals, sign up to the Which? Car email  

Brake surveyed 4,944 17-25 year olds, who drive or passenger with young drivers across the UK, and found that 28% - that’s more than one in four - admit to being party to drink or drug driving.

This includes those who do both, and those who have been a passenger in a car driven by a young driver who they know was under the influence.

Driving under the influence

According to the Brake report, one in six young drivers admits to drink driving. And one in 15 admits to driving while under the influence of drugs - often in combination with drink driving.

A total of 2,621 young drivers were interviewed, 18% admitted to drink driving, and 7% admitted to drug driving. Of those who drug drive, a massive 84% admitted to drinking as well.

Brake also interviewed 4,143 passengers of young drivers. Of these, 23% said they had been driven by a young driver who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Underestimating the effects

Brake also asked the same groups how long alcohol and drugs - such as cannabis - remain in the body. ‘About half’ underestimated the length of time, suggesting that young drivers may be driving while influenced by drink or drugs without even realising it.

Further revelations from the Brake report include the statistical likelihood that drink or drug drivers are more likely to admit to having crashed their car - and that these drivers are more likely to be male.

A total of 39% of drink or drug drivers say they have crashed, compared with 10% of young drivers who say they don’t drink or drug drive. And 73% of those who ‘admit to driving smashed and having crashed’ are male.

The report also found that 26% of young men surveyed believe that males have better alcohol and drug tolerance than females; this leads them to believe they are better able to drive while drunk or on drugs. This in turn explains the ‘smashed and crashed’ statistics.

‘Not a drop. Not a drag’

The Brake report was compiled in association with 3M and Alcosense, and has been release to coincide with Road Safety Week (23-29 November), which is organised by Brake. The majority of respondents were aged 17-19.

The charity is urging this new generation of drivers to heed the advice of its latest slogan, and take ‘Not a drop. Not a drag.’ when they plan to get behind the wheel.

Which? says all drivers could benefit from taking an advanced driving course, which improves their driving skills and could save them money on insurance


Which? Car on Twitter

Follow Which? Car on Twitter

The Which? Car team is on Twitter, to offer you help and advice as and when you need it.

We're monitoring our Twitter account every day, so if you have an account, please send us you thoughts and questions to @whichcar.

Don't worry if you haven't got a Twitter account - you can still stay in the loop by regularly checking